French weblet will go public

French weblet M6, which reported its first ever profits last year, will open its shares to the public next year by being quoted on the Paris stock exchange, according to network president Jean Drucker.

In an interview with the French daily Les Echos, Drucker noted that the network shareholders “have agreed that M6 should make its entry into the stock market in 1994.”

That would mean that three French networks, M6, pay-TV Canal Plus and Bouygues-controlled TF1, would all be quoted on the Paris Bourse.

Drucker did not give details of the exact date of the Bourse launch, nor how many shares would be made available to the public. But he did say the scheme had always been part of the network’s strategy.

One factor that has cleared the way to opening up the network to the public investors is M6’s reported profit of slightly more than 100 million francs ($ 17 million) in 1992 — the first in its history. Estimates are that 1993 results will be better, and revenues are projected to hit around $ 258 million.

Before M6 heads to the Bourse, the indications are that the current shareholders will increase their stake in the web.

Communications Minister Alain Carignon has made it clear that he intends to intro legislation removing the 25% limit that one shareholder can have in a television network. The new limit will be 49%.

M6’s two main shareholders, the powerful CLT group and waterworks services giant Lyonnaise des Eaux, are both expected to up their 25% stake in line with each other. There is speculation, however, that the Credit Agricole bank may part company with its 10% share of the network.

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